MIKE COLLEGE, Mike Smith and John Campbell look more like three street toughs than the Maryland state troopers they are. But as undercover narcotics cops, that's how they're supposed to look.
College -- that's Sgt. Mike College -- has worked undercover for 20 years.
"He taught me how to buy dope," said Maj. Greg Shipley, the state police spokesman who also worked as an undercover narc. Smith and Campbell, both corporals, have worked undercover five and seven years, respectively.
They note their undercover experience to let folks know that when it comes to the business of taking down drug rings, they know what they're doing. And Wednesday they sat in the conference room of the state police barracks in Westminster and recounted exactly what led them to raid a Northwest
Baltimore home just off Liberty Heights Avenue on Sept. 9.
On Oct. 3, I wrote a column giving the reactions of Gloria Brown, Daryl Easter and Barbara Sims to the police drug raid on their home. Now the state troopers who investigated the Westminster drug ring get their turn. Daryl Brown, who lives with his aunt Gloria Brown and mother, Barbara Sims, at the Rosedale Road address, is the only one who hasn't commented on the raid or the allegations against him.
It is Daryl Brown who was named in Smith's "application and affidavit for a search and seizure warrant" as a suspect in the drug ring operating out of Westminster's Sullivan Apartments.
Gloria Brown, Easter and Sims have wondered for more than a month what led police to raid their home. The answer is in black and white in the application and affidavit.
As you read what follows -- taken from the application and affidavit -- remember this point: Daryl Brown, as Smith noted in the application and affidavit, has no criminal record. Nor has he been charged with any crime in the investigation into the West- minster drug ring. Police found no drugs in the Rosedale Road home during the raid.
College, Smith and Campbell, along with Westminster City Police and the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, started an investigation into street-level drug dealing in April at the Sullivan Apartments, where several shootings and assaults had occurred. A confidential informant told them that two men known by the street names of "Rell" and "Howan" were selling crack in the area. Both men, Smith learned later, had criminal records, the application and affidavit said.
The informant had made arrangements to buy a half-ounce of crack from a third man who drove a dark-colored Dodge Neon. The informant told undercover cops that the third man was seen driving with Rell and Howan in the Dodge Neon on several occasions.
Two months later, Campbell bought two ounces of crack from Rell. Earlier that day, Rell had made arrangements to sell the crack when he used Campbell's cell phone to call his supplier. When Rell returned the cell phone to Campbell, the trooper recovered the number dialed from the phone's memory. Campbell also heard Rell ask for someone named Daryl, the documents said.
Through investigation, Smith learned the phone number Campbell recovered was registered in Gloria Brown's name for the Rosedale Road address. He traced several cars registered in the block and learned a dark-purple 1998 Dodge Neon belonged to Daryl Brown. A second confidential informant, part of Rell's and Howan's organization, got drugs from those two and a third man named Keon, who, Smith wrote, the informant said lived off Liberty Heights Avenue in Baltimore. The second informant identified Daryl Brown from a picture as Keon, Smith wrote in the documents.
Roger Powell, Gloria Brown's attorney, sent her a letter dated Oct. 21 about the allegations contained in Smith's application and affidavit.
"That information is woefully inadequate upon which to issue a search and seizure warrant," Powell wrote. "You may recall that I previously advised you that there has to be some corroboration of the information from the reliable informant, generally in the form of surveillance and seeing suspicious activity, discovery of drug residue or marijuana seeds in the trash, a controlled drug buy, or something else."
Smith wrote in the application and affidavit that he saw Daryl Brown's car parked in front of the Rosedale Road home several times. If the trooper saw any suspicious activity that indicated drug dealing, he didn't put it in his application and affidavit.
Daryl Brown refuses to comment on the matter. But his aunt, Gloria Brown, is skeptical of the police investigation. She finds it hard to believe an informant wouldn't know her nephew's real name but have knowledge of where he lives. She's equally incredulous that a street-level drug dealer would use the cell phone of a customer to call his supplier.
"They had no evidence," Gloria Brown said. "It was all hearsay."